Impressions: Upgrading the HP620LX to Windows CE 2.11 ("Pro")
Copyright 1999 Todd Ogasawara
Contents of the HP620/660 Windows CE 2.11 upgrade kit
Figure 1. The HP620/660 Windows CE OS 2.11 upgrade kit consists of the ROM/RAM upgrade board, an excellent illustrated instruction sheet, and CD-ROM of and instructions for Windows CE Services 2.2. HP added a wealth of nice applications they added to the core set of applications. The documentation is not included with the kit. However, a PDF file (Adobe Acrobat viewer required) of the User Manual is available on HP's web site.
620/660 upgrade board
Figure 2. This is the board containing the upgrade ROM and RAM.
upgrade area
Figure 3. The backup and main battery must be removed to access the system board slot. You should also remove any CompactFlash or PC Card (PCMCIA) that might be installed. And, of course, you should perform a full backup to a desktop or notebook system before proceeding with the upgrade. The pink tab seen in the battery slot area is attached to the system RAM/ROM board. The board can be removed relatively easily and without any tools.
inserting the upgrade board
Figure 4. Installing the upgrade board is very simple. HP's excellent illustrated instructions make the process nearly foolproof.

Link to Official HP 620/660 Windows CE OS 2.11 ("Pro") Upgrade Page
16 July 1999. My impressions? I ordered the kit directly from the HP Shopping Village. My cost was US$179. This price included shipping. The upgrade kit is very simple to install. No tools are needed. HP provides a great easy to read illustrated installation guide.

Those upgrading the HP620LX will probably feel like they received a better value than those upgrading from the newer HP660LX. The upgrade board contains both the upgraded ROM as well as 32MB of RAM. This means that HP620LX owners gain an added 16MB of system RAM. The HP660LX remains at 32MB RAM. HP notes that color depth is increased to 64K colors. They also mention that an MP3 driver is provided. But, I have not noted how this can be detected. HP adds a number of third party and unique HP written utilties. They are listed below.

    Upgrade Utilties Extras
  1. bFIND
  2. OmniSolve
  3. bSQUARE FAX Professional
  4. HP Backup
  5. HP Quick Pad
  6. HP Viewer
  7. HP Hot Keys
  8. HP Macro
  9. HP Settings
A few of these utilties are illustrated in figures 5 and 7.

The upgraded system seems more sluggish than the original system. However, it may be that I am simply more critical in these first few hours and days after the upgrade. The system has frozen on me a few times. However, I have not yet noted the events leading to each system freeze and will reserve more comments on this until I can investigate it a bit more.

In general the upgrade may be a good value to HP620LX owners. The enhanced Pocket Office 3.0 applications and increase system RAM will probably be welcome changes for most HP620LX owners.

Scroll Down to see more photos & screen captures.

Macro pop-up from status bar
Figure 5. HP has added a lot of extra-value utilities to the standard set of Windows CE OS 2.11/Applications 3.01 tool set in ROM. The "house like" icon to the left of the bSQUARE bFIND icon (bFIND is also in ROM) brings up this menu. This keyboard macro utility is one of them.
The new monthly calendar view
Figure 6. The standard monthly calendar view is probably familiar to owners of Palm-size PCs or the various mini-notebook form factor H/PC Pro devices. HP620LX owners may miss the actual text that was present in the older ROM's HP built monthly calendar view. The User Manual indicates that the new HP Viewer replaces the lost HP monthly view and provides a number of enhancements. However, HP Viewer does not seem to launch properly on my system.
Omnisolve calculator
Figure 7. HP includes the power Landware Omnisolve calculator as an alternative to the default calculator provided by Microsoft. This is a very good calculator and a welcome addition.